Friday, February 3, 2017

Feel Good Friday - International Rescue Committee

For those of you who have been following the Feel Good Friday posts for the last four years, you've probably noticed they are becoming less random and more topical. In response to the recent executive order to suspend refugee resettlement in the United States, I'm profiling the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

The shortest description from their website explains, "The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and regain control of their future." You can watch a short video to see their work in action or see President and CEO, David Miliband, being interviewed on the Daily Show here.

It was in 1933 that the "American branch of the European-based International Relief Association (IRA) was founded at the suggestion of Albert Einstein to assist Germans suffering under Hitler." Who knew? Maybe you, but certainly not me. You can read the full history of the organization here.

More recent IRC efforts have focused on Syrian refugees, Nepali earthquake survivors and uprooted families in Burundi. In 2015 alone, more than 23 million people benefitted from IRC programs, helping them gain access to primary care, clean drinking water, job skills training, legal assistance and moreIRC's work focuses on economic wellbeing, education, health, power (as in, know your rights) and safety.

IRC has 29 offices around the US that support newly arrived refugees by providing immediate aid, including food, housing and medical attention. As explained on the website, "refugees are men, women and children fleeing war, persecution and political upheaval who have crossed borders to seek safety in another country. Most eventually go home when it's safe, some stay in temporary refugee settlements, and a tiny fraction resettle in a third country, such as the U.S." In 2015 the U.S. helped resettle 9,961 newly arrived refugees and we have pledged to resettle 110,000 refugees in 2017.

There is no need to fear refugees coming to the U.S. since they are vetted more than any other group seeking entrance. Most are referred for resettlement by the UNHCR (profiled in in this FGF post from Sept, 2015). Detailed information about refugee vetting, resettlement and the current situation can be found at this link.

If you want to support refugees, both those coming to the U.S. and worldwide, but are not always available for an impromptu airport protest, check out the how to help page and stay in the social medial loop by liking the IRC Facebook page and following them on Twitter @theirc.

No comments: